Pharma Focus Asia

PsiOxus Therapeutics to Collaborate with the Parker Institute

Saturday, November 17, 2018

PsiOxus Therapeutics, Ltd. (PsiOxus) and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (Parker Institute) today announced a research project to investigate the use of PsiOxus' virus-based gene therapy for treating solid tumors that have been historically resistant to immunotherapy.

This pre-clinical immuno-oncology research will utilize PsiOxus' proprietary T-SIGn platform. The platform uses the enadenotucirev oncolytic virus as a vector to deliver combinations of therapeutic transgenes to carcinomas to fight cancer.

In effect, the T-SIGn viruses work by turning tumor cells into "drug factories" to express gene therapy products, such as cytokines or antibodies, designed to engage the immune system to attack cancer cells.

The viruses first selectively infect and replicate only in tumor cells. The tumor cells then express the encoded genes, producing biologic therapies to alter the tumor microenvironment. Changing the tumor microenvironment is believed to enhance the activation of cancer-fighting immune cells so they can eradicate the tumor.

Working together, PsiOxus and the Parker Institute aim to build and test viruses carrying different combinations of genes.

"One of the challenges in treating solid tumors with immunotherapy is the tumor microenvironment, which is very suppressive and effectively prevents the immune system from attacking the tumor," said Fred Ramsdell, Ph.D., vice president of research at the Parker Institute. "What is promising about the PsiOxus approach is its potential to overcome this suppression using a novel virus platform to deliver gene therapy."

Unlike other oncolytic viruses that require direct injections to the tumor, which can be costly and complicated to administer, PsiOxus' platform can be delivered to patients intravenously.

"Given the potential of PsiOxus' IV-delivered cancer gene therapy platform, establishing strategic relationships with world leaders in immuno-oncology will accelerate our ability to bring gene therapy treatment to cancer patients," said Brian Champion, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of PsiOxus. "The Parker Institute is a leader in building strategic relationships between leading immuno-oncology academic and industry partners. We are thrilled to collaborate with the Parker Institute to jointly accelerate research on innovative cancer immuno-oncology therapy."

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